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1871 Announces 10 Companies Joining Fall WiSTEM Cohort

1871's eighth WiSTEM cohort will features 10 women-led businesses. To date, the 12-week program has graduated 88 companies and created more than 250 jobs. 


1871 is proud to announce the 10 companies that will make up the eighth cohort of WiSTEM, an accelerator program that connects women entrepreneurs to capital, community, and technology resources. The 10 entrepreneurs of WiSTEM Cohort 8 will take part in an intensive 12-week curriculum that will include mentorships, facilitated introductions to investors, curated programming, business-generating workshops, and a culminating showcase event in front of local tech and business leaders at 1871.

“We are very excited to start Cohort 8. The female founders we were able to meet through this program are outstanding and deeply passionate,” said 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler. “WiSTEM started as a program to support women entrepreneurs and it’s evolved into a sisterhood that’s generated jobs and revenue for Chicago’s tech and business community, and I’m excited to see how this cohort will continue to raise the bar.”

Member companies in C8 include:

  • Book+Main | Tracey Suppo | Book+Main is the next-generation platform for how readers find books and authors find readers.

  • DesignerShare LLC | Sarah Perkins | DesignerShare is a community that allows women to rent their designer clothing and accessories to one another

  • Explore Interactive | Amanda Thompson | Explore Interactive brings together the delight of tabletop card games and the magic of augmented reality technology to provide inquiry-based learning and creative building in STEM subject areas.  

  • Floracracy | Sarah-Eva Marchese | Floracracy has created the first online platform focused on user-personalized flowers.

  • KNTXT Group | Dijana Mihajlovic | KNTXT Group  is revolutionizing the way we experience real estate not yet built. Using interactive VR technology, our platform allows prospective buyers and tenants to virtually walk through and explore every corner of a future property long before it is built.

  • poolside | Maureen Burns | poolside is a new staffing platform for restaurants that attracts and retains talent by giving them more control over their schedule and gives restaurants a continuous pipeline of talent through it’s labor marketplace.

  • Raven Intel | Bonnie Tinder | Raven Intel is a free online community that helps customers find, hire and review the perfect HR consulting partner for their HR software project.

  • The High Five Movement | Allison Capeless | High Five Movement is a real-time, positive only feedback platform that allows customers to “high five” customer-facing employees to reinforce and reward high quality service.

  • Tobogo Therapies LLC | Michelle Worth | Tobogo Therapies is a comprehensive pediatric speech therapy solutions provider that allows parents to source, book, check insurance, and pay for in-home pediatric speech therapy services via a user-friendly online interface.

  • vPeer | Dilara Sayeed | vPeer is first-to-market with an evidence based peer-to-peer platform to Match-Meet-Mentor, and Make Greater Impact.

"Our company, poolside, is redefining how work gets done in the food industry,” said Maureen Burns, Co-founder and CEO of poolside. “We feel strongly that we are creating a long-term solution that will solve the labor shortage in a way no one else is doing today. We're proud of what we're building and the impact it will have. Where we need help though, is where WiSTEM comes in with a network of experienced entrepreneurs and mentors. With WiSTEM's support, we can accelerate and scale our business operations to create the impact we want."

Led and facilitated by Ms. Tech Founder Nicole Yeary and WiseApple Co-founder and CEO Rebecca Sholiton, members of the WiSTEM program gather each week at 1871 to receive business and technical training, problem solve challenges that they’re facing, and build powerful networking and mentorship relationships. The program prepares founders for the critical stage of a startup’s lifecycle that comes after developing and testing a minimum viable product.

“I’m looking forward to diving into the trenches with the entrepreneurs from WiSTEM’s eighth cohort,” said Rebecca Sholiton, Co-Facilitator of 1871’s WiSTEM program. “The caliber of businesses and ideas coming out of 1871 and the Chicago tech ecosystem gets better every year, and I think these women and their ideas are a testament to that trend. I can't wait to see what they accomplish in 2018 and after WiSTEM."

To date, WiSTEM has graduated 88 companies and created more than 250 jobs. In addition to the WiSTEM program, 1871 has launched a number of major efforts to support and empower Chicago’s women entrepreneurs and business leaders including ChiBuys, a first-of-its-kind program supporting women- and minority-owned food vendors, and a collaboration with the YWCA to expand sexual harassment awareness initiatives for businesses throughout the Chicagoland area. 1871 staff members also strive to make diversity and inclusion a priority in their recruiting efforts, events, programming, membership, and every other facet of the organization.

To learn more about the WiSTEM program, follow this link.

Topics: News

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